By April 8, 2012 Read More →

When The Police Call At Midnight It Is Never Good News

To be honest, I count my blessings each day. For the most part, my kids are well behaved, polite, and seem to have their heads screwed on straight. Last night, I had my doubts as my cell phone woke me from a sound sleep. The good news is that there was not an accident; but the bad news was that there was a police officer on the other end of the line.

It seems that my daughter (almost 18) was at a party that got a little out of hand in terms of noise and the neighbors called the police. And it snowballed from there. There were several dozen underage teens there drinking. To make it worse, the parents were there as well and apparently either knew about it or actually facilitated it.

The officer explained that the parents were being arrested for supplying alcohol to minors and that no one was allowed to drive from the party. For those under 18, the police were required to contact parents.

A very frantic conversation with my daughter ensued and I explained that either her mom or I would be there to get her. She was at her mom’s this weekend, so I was not aware of the party; but I think my daughter thought I might go easier on her–hence the call to me.  I spoke with the officer who explained that none of the teens were being charged and that they were being released to their parents.

I called my ex-wife and woke her up to tell her the news. We agreed since our daughter was at her house for the weekend, she ought to return to her house that night.  When she got there, the parents did not say anything other than “which kid is yours?” I suspect that they have much more to worry about with the criminal charges and potentially some lawsuits if it is proven that they did serve alcohol.

So, now we need to co-parent and determine the appropriate punishment for an almost adult for underage drinking. She got lucky. I am not sure she understands how badly this could have turned out, but I hope to impress it upon her in the coming weeks. We had a long talk and explained my disappointment and how we always need to be aware of the ramifications of our actions.

I am not naive enough to think that they do not drink or experiment. I think that most of us have at one point or another. So in one sense I feel like it is a bit of a double standard; but on the other hand, I have said my goal with raising children is to keep them safe, responsible, honest, and caring until I can hand them off to the world to do great things. And if I have to be the bad guy to achieve that goal, it is a step I need to take and I am willing to take the lumps, the “I hate you dad’s, the “you’ve ruined my life!”s, and the cold shoulder. At least she is not in teen rehab!

Any sage advice for me?

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6 Comments on "When The Police Call At Midnight It Is Never Good News"

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  1. Julie says:

    This is definitely a tough situation, but you seem to be headed in the right direction in terms of co-parenting and discipline. This is a phone call I dread and with my oldest only 12 I hope that it is very far off. I can imagine your relief that your daughter is ok and your frustration that she would put herself in this situation. Parenting requires many hats and bad guy is definitely one of them. Best of luck with your punishment process and fill us in on what you decide!

  2. Jesdica says:

    Make the consequences as logical and “real-world” as possible. It may sound holey but sitting down with her and both of you coming up with scenarios of things that could have happened and researching current events that have made headlines in the news sounds like a pretty embarrassing and pain full consequence. Especially if done on a Saturday night. She may roll her eyes but she will forever have that info as a point of reference. Well-equipped..informed decisions.

  3. John says:

    Yes it is difficult. Ultimately, my ex and I decided that the punishment could not be too severe as she did what we asked–called us if ever in trouble. Granted we would not have received the call had the police not been there. But we discussed the different things that could have happened and hopefully that made an impression. As to the specific punishment, it was a combination of grounding, restriction of social media, and some pretty hard fast rules for Senior Week after graduation. In hindsight, I wish the officers would have brought them to the police station and called parents from there–it might have made a more permanent impression on the 20+ underaged kids.

  4. Wendy says:

    Parents who host, lose the most! That’s what they say in Virginia.

  5. Eric McMillan says:

    No double standard – I am a big proponent of “Do as I say not as I do”; and the fact that you have “been there done that” gives credence to the consequences that you present. (I have walked that thin line many times about how much to reveal and how much to keep hidden in an effort to lead by example) I am going through something very similar with my 15-year old son who has been caught drinking more than once and the lecturing and groundings do not seem to be doing any good. We are planning to attend the 5-week “teens at risk” program through Pathways in Annapolis, so hopefully they have practical learnings that will have some impact. If nothing else, if it so painfully boring, maybe that will be a deterrent in and of itself 🙂 Hope everything has “blown over” and she has learned something from this…As for the parents and others who supply alcohol to minors…NO mercy!
    Take care!

  6. John says:

    Eric–I have a friend whose son is into some rally deep stuff-heroin, stealing to feed his habit etc. He was in “a program” at Pathways after coming out of a residential facility and he had nothing but great things to say!

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